Wednesday, November 10, 2010
"One of the interesting things about the Recovery Act was most of the projects came in under budget, faster than expected, because there's just not a lot of work there."
"Obama makes a valid point about this being a good time to get deals on infrastructure projects. The recession has created desperate workers willing to work cheaper, and the cost of materials is still relatively low. Obama's point that this was borne out by the stimulus projects is on target. But he stretched the facts -- at least what is actually known -- when he claimed most projects have come in under budget and faster than expected. And so we rate his claim Half True."
But whether the work is done faster and cheaper than expected, that may not address the concerns of many Americans: did it create enough jobs? For Obama's thoughts on that, continue reading.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) In Florida in 2008, African Americans waited in lines for hours for the chance to elect the first black President. Sometimes old, sometimes infirm, sometimes young and busy, they still waited. But since then, many of them lost their homes, and in 2010, many weren't voting at all. That's what campaign volunteer Marcia Richardson told me outside a virtually empty early polling place on Martin Luther King boulevard in Tampa last week.
Turns out they never came. On The Takeaway this morning, Emery University Professor Audra Gillespie noted, "Overall, nationally African-American vote share in the entire electorate actually fell not just from 2008 but also from 2006."
This was just one of the contributing factors to the Democrats massive losses last night. It wasn't just that President Obama had riled up his opponents. It was that he'd deeply disappointed many supporters, again and again.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Did President Obama do his party a political favor by proposing $50 billion in new transportation infrastructure spending to a budget-weary nation right before the November midterms? Was his labor day infrastructure plan an effort to allow struggling Democrats to distance themselves?
At least one vulnerable Democrat under fire for supporting the president’s first $787 billion stimulus plan now says he’s not on board for any more. And just like that, Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) has put a little distance between himself and a White House sagging in the polls.
“I will not support additional spending in a second stimulus package. Any new transportation initiatives can be funded through the Recovery Act, which still contains unused funds,” Bennett said in a statement released Wednesday.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
(New York -- Kate Hinds, WNYC) As part of its $508 million rehabilitation, the Brooklyn Bridge will get wrapped in canvas beginning in about two months.
Hasan Ahmed, who oversees the Brooklyn Bridge for the New York City Department of Transportation, says workers will install a huge canvas shield that will protect motorists while the bridge is repainted. "It will be lots of material."
Workers will repaint five million square feet of steel -- and first the old leaded paint has to be removed. Hence the need for a canvas shield. And that necessitates a lot more than throwing down a drop cloth.
"In a couple of months you will see a major difference in the outlook of the bridge," Ahmed tells WNYC's Kate Hinds. "When the containment is styled to creep up from one side ittle by little a whole section of the bridge will be covered."
The canvas won’t cover the bridge’s wood-plank pedestrian walkway, which is elevated above the road. But the drive across the span will soon change.
Says Ahmed "When you are driving on the bridge, you will not see the sky, because you will see a while or off-white or light brown shield on the top of you."
Thursday, July 15, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Speaking at a ribbon cutting for an electric vehicle battery plant in Holland, MI, today, President Barack Obama said a major barriers to entry for EV consumers -- battery costs -- are about to drop.
From his remarks:
"For example, the workers at this plant, already slated to produce batteries for the new Chevy Volt, learned the other day that they will also be supplying batteries for the new electric Ford Focus as soon as this operation gears up. That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured in Holland, Michigan, instead of South Korea. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” – just like the car.
And here’s another benefit. Because of advances in the manufacture of these batteries, their costs are expected to come down by nearly 70 percent in the next few years, which will make electric and hybrid cars and trucks more affordable for more Americans. And that, too, will mean more jobs – not to mention less dependence on oil."
Here's the White House Report on EV Batteries and the Recovery Act.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) President Obama will visit an electric truck plant in Kansas City, Mo., tomorrow to tout clean-energy vehicles as a job-creator, the White House says.
Obama is set to tour Smith Electric Vehicles, which was on the receiving end of $32 million in Recovery Act stimulus money. It was part of an overall $2.4 billion slice of the stimulus targeted toward high-tech battery and plug-in hybrid development.
Obama will tour the plant and make a speech on job creation with the plant as a backdrop. The White House says Smith's new plant, in a refurbished jet engine facility at the Kansas City International Airport, is one of "as many as 20" assembly plants the company plans to open.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation, Washington, DC) National transportation programs get a $3.7 billion dollar boost over last year in the House’s latest appropriation bill funding the Department of Transportation.
The increase includes new money for highway repairs and improvements, which have been in limbo with Congress unable to reach agreement on transportation or highway policy bills.
The House Appropriations Committee released a summary of the bill Thursday as the bill works its way through the legislative process on its way to the floor later this summer. DOT would get a total of $79.4 billion in Fiscal 2011, which begins Oct 1. That’s $3.7 billion more than the agency’s budget this year and $1.7 more than requested by President Obama.
Most of the money in the bill—$45.2 billion--goes to federal highway maintenance and construction. It’s a $3.1 billion increase designed to help fill a hole left by the stalled transportation reauthorization bill.
Friday, June 25, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There's not a transit system in the nation that isn't under water. MARTA in Atlanta is looking a cutting a quarter of its service. The board of the Caltrain, through Silicon Valley, is reserving the option of ceasing to exist entirely. But why is the NYC MTA, the nation's marqee transit system, facing an $800 million budget gap?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
As the MTA prepares to make deep cuts, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood sat down with WNYC's Andrea Bernstein to discuss how much help the federal government should give transit systems and whether the Recovery Act has helped.